Islam and the Quran

What Does “Altering God’s Creation” Mean?

Verse 4:119 in the Quran is interpreted as altering the physical appearance of created beings by many scholars. Let us read the relevant verses and their contexts to understand the meaning of “God’s creation” better.

The Qur’an includes the signs (ayah) of God which have been sent down by Him. When it is correctly studied in the framework of is method, the results obtained from the verses are in full compliance with nature, because nature consists of the signs that are created by God.

The natural order that God has established on the earth is in perfect harmony with the commands He has decreed in His books. God has set the order and then has sent divine books as guides to be followed in order to maintain and preserve this natural order. This is the direct bond between creation and religion:

Turn your face directly to this religion, that is, the fitrah of God (laws made by God that apply to all beings). He has created humankind in compliance with it. There is nothing that may substitute for God’s creation. This is the true religion, though most people know not.” (ar-Rum 30:30)

The expression translated as “God’s creation” in this verse is “halqAllah”. The same expression is mentioned in verse an-Nisa 4:119:

“God has excluded Satan. Satan said: ‘I shall take some of Your servants as a stipulated portion; I will lead them astray and fill them with vain desires. I will order them to slit the ears on livestock and order them to alter God’s creation.’ Anyone who adopts Satan as a patron instead of God has obviously lost out.” (an-Nisa 4:118-119)

The only creature which is capable of disturbing the natural order in the world is human:

“Whenever they hold a position of authority, they endeavor to disturb the order of earth and to destroy resources and to exterminate nations (progenies). God does not like corruption.” (al-Baqarah 2:205)

Deterioration has appeared on land and in the sea by (reason of) what the hands of people have earned, so that God may let them taste part of (the consequence of) what they have done. So that they may return (to righteousness).” (ar-Rum 30:41)

As we all know God has given two options to humans: complying with the laws He has set, or acting against them. Since the Creator of nature is God, any “law of nature” is also a divine law.

When we consider these verses together, we can see that efforts to cause deterioration, physical or moral decay, corruption, or any other foul deed which would disturb the balance that God has set on the earth is an act of “altering God’s creation”.

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